Variant forms of the TigerBennett: “How could you possibly think ‘the way she looks’ was about our relative races? It was about something else! Something so totally obvious, I’m not even going to say it. So there.”

Walker’s Being doesn’t have specific orders to take on different forms; he just has the leeway to decide for himself what supports Walker’s plans best. Unlike Bennett, Walker is sharp enough to realize he’s doing it, and approve.

Miranda’s snappish reference to her white dad in the previous chapter is paralleled by Cohen’s sarcastic reference to “having a black child with someone you didn’t marry.”

Bennett: Now hang on just a second!

Okay, so I don’t have this magical sense of caring about Beings aside from my own that you seem to be looking for. But I do think Cybele’s happiness is important!

Using her the way I did was a bad idea. And I’m not just saying that because it didn’t work out. I’m not sorry I kept my Being a secret — people already think Karen Park is kind of ridiculous for being so invested in the Game, and I don’t want that on my reputation — but if I could do it over again, I would have done . . . um . . . something less risky for her!

Cohen: You could’ve let her pose as a human.

Bennett: Let’s not get crazy now. I’m an unmarried man. Think what people would assume! Especially with the way she looks!

Cohen: Yes, how especially scandalous it is to have an illegitimate black child.

Bennett: Hey! I didn’t say anything about race!

Cohen: Sure you didn’t.

Your coded racism aside . . . why couldn’t you have told Cybele to shift into a less suspicious form? Someone too old to be your out-of-wedlock child, and not so attractive that they’d be taken for your secret partner.

You could have her switch to a new form if people started asking questions. Or do it every so often even if they didn’t, just as a precaution. Heck, you could even play it like Ann Walker does, and have your Being never look the same way twice.